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[228]

XXII. January, 1863

  • Lee in winter quarters.
  • -- Bragg's victory in the Southwest. -- the President at Mobile. -- enemy withdraw from Vicksburg. -- Bragg retreats as usual. -- Bureau of Conscription. -- high rents. -- flour contracts in Congress. -- efforts to escape Conscription. -- ships coming in freely. -- sneers at negro troops. -- hopes of French intervention. -- Gen. Rains blows himself up. -- Davis would be the last to give up. -- Gov. Vance protests against Col. August's appointment as commandant of conscripts. -- financial difficulties in the United States.



January 1

This first day of the year dawned in gloom, but the sun, like the sun of Austerlitz, soon beamed forth in great splendor upon a people radiant with smiles and exalted to the empyrean.

A letter from Gen. H. Marshall informed the government that Gen. Floyd had seized slaves in Kentucky and refused to restore them to their owners, and that if the government did not promptly redress the wrong, the Kentuckians would at once “take the law into their own hands.”

We had a rumor (not yet contradicted) that the enemy, or traitors, had burned the railroad bridge between Bristol and Knoxville, cutting our communication with the West.

Then it was said (and it was true) that Gen. Lee had sent his artillery back some 30 miles this side of the Rappahannock, preparatory to going into winter quarters. But this was no occasion for gloom. Lee always knows what is best to be done.

Next there was a rumor (not yet confirmed, but credited) that Stuart had made another of his wonderful reconnoissances, capturing prisoners and destroying much of the enemy's stores beyond the Rappahannock.

Then came a dispatch from Bragg which put us almost “beside” ourselves with joy, and caused even enemies to pause and shake hands in the street. Yesterday he attacked Rosecrans's army near Murfreesborough, and gained a great victory. He says he drove him from all his positions, except on the extreme left, and after ten [229] hours' fighting, occupied the whole of the field except (those exceptions!) the point named. We had, as trophies, thirty-one guns, two generals, 4000 prisoners, and 200 wagons. This is a Western dispatch, it is true, but it has Bragg's name to it, and he does not willingly exaggerate. Although I, for one, shall await the next dispatches with anxiety, there can be no question about the victory on the last day of the bloody year 1862. Bragg says the loss was heavy on both sides.

I noticed that one of the brass pieces sent down by Lee to go to North Carolina had been struck by a ball just over the muzzle, and left a glancing mark toward the touch-hole. That ball, prob. ably, killed one of our gunners.


January 2

A dispatch from Gov. Harris gives some additional particulars of the battle near Murfreesborough, Tenn. He says the enemy was driven back six miles, losing four generals killed and three captured, and that we destroyed $2,000,000 commissary and other stores. But still we have no account of what was done yesterday on the “extreme left.”

Gen. Stuart has been near Alexandria, and his prisoners are coming in by every train. He captured and destroyed many stores, and, up to the last intelligence, without loss on his side. He is believed, now, to be in Maryland, having crossed the Potomac near Leesburg.

The mayor of our city, Jos. Mayo, meeting two friends last night, whom he recognized but who did not recognize him, playfully seized one of them, a judge, and, garroter fashion, demanded his money or his life. The judge's friend fell upon the mayor with a stick and beat him dreadfully before the joke was discovered.

The President was at Mobile on the 30th December, having visited both Murfreesborough and Vicksburg, but not witnessing either of the battles.

We are in great exaltation again! Dispatches from Gen. Bragg, received last night, relieve us with the information that the stronghold of the enemy, which he failed to carry on the day of battle, was abandoned the next day; that Forrest and Morgan were operating successfully far in the rear of the invader, and that Gen. Wheeler had made a circuit of the hostile army after the battle, burning several hundred of their wagons, capturing an [230] ordnance train, and making more prisoners. Bragg says the enemy's telegraphic and railroad communications with his rear have been demolished, and that he will follow up the defeated foe. I think we will get Nashville now.


January 3

To-day we have a dispatch from Vicksburg stating that the enemy had re-embarked, leaving their intrenching instruments, etc., apparently abandoning the purpose of assaulting the city. This is certainly good news.

Gen. Stuart did not cross the Potomac, as reported in the Northern press, but, doubtless, the report produced a prodigious panic among the Yankees. But when Stuart was within eight miles of Alexandria, he telegraphed the government at Washington that if they did not send forward larger supplies of stores to Burnside's army, he (Stuart) would not find it worth while to intercept them.

Capt. Semmes, of the Alabama, has taken another prize-the steamer Ariel-but no gold being on board, and having 800 passengers, he released it, under bonds to pay us a quarter million dollars at the end of the war.

A large meeting has been held in New York, passing resolutions in favor of peace. They propose that New Jersey send a delegation hither to induce us to meet the United States in convention at Louisville, to adopt definitive terms of peace, on the basis of the old Union, or, that being impracticable, separation. Too late!


January 4

We have nothing additional from Murfreesborough, but it is ascertained that the bridges burned by the enemy on the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad cannot be repaired in a month.

It really does seem that some potent and malign influence, resident at the capital, some high functionary, by some species of occultation, controlling the action of the government, a Talleyrand in the pay of both governments, and balancing or equalizing disasters between them to magnify his importance and increase his reward, has been controlling many events since the beginning of this war, and is still engaged in the diabolical work. It now appears that several regiments were withdrawn from the vicinity of Bristol, whose presence there was necessary for the protection of the railroad and the bridges. They were brought hither after Lee's defeat of Burnside, for the protection of the capital! The President was [231] away, and Mr. Seddon was now in the War Office. But Gen. Cooper is old in office, and should have known better; and Gen. G. W. Smith certainly must have known better. Just suppose we had been beaten at Murfreesborough, and our communications cut, west and east and south! There would have been no escape.

It had even been proposed to take a large portion of Lee's men from him, so that he must be inevitably defeated on the Rappahannock, but Lee's resignation would have shocked the people unbearably. Great injury was done him by abstracting some 20,000 of his men by discharges, transfers, and details. Nothing but his generalship and the heroism of his men saved us from ruin. The disasters of Donelson, Newbern, Nashville, Memphis, Roanoke, New Orleans, Norfolk, etc. may be traced to the same source. But all new governments have been afflicted by a few evil-disposed leaders.

Our people in arms have upheld the State; they have successfully resisted the open assaults of the invader, and frustrated the occult machinations of the traitors in our midst. We have great generals, but what were they without great men to obey them? Generals have fallen, and divisions and brigades have fought on without them. Regiments have lost their field officers and continued the fight, and companies have maintained their position after all their commissioned officers were stricken down. The history which shall give the credit of their achievements to others will be a vile calumny. Our cause would have been ruined if it had not been for the bravery and heroism of the people — the privates in our armies.

There is a rumor this morning that the enemy are advancing toward Petersburg from Suffolk. If this be so, some spy, under the protection of martial law, has informed the Yankees of our defenseless condition at that place, being alarmed at the success of our brave and patriotic men in the West.


January 5

We learn from Gen. Bragg that the enemy did not retire far on the 2d inst., but remain still in the vicinity of Murfreesborough. He says, however, that our cavalry are still circling the Yankees, taking prisoners and destroying stores. During the day an absurd rumor was invented, to the effect that Bragg had been beaten. We are anxious to learn the precise particulars of the battle. It is to be feared that too many of Bragg's [232] men were ordered to reinforce Pemberton. If that blunder should prove disastrous, the authorities here will have a hornet's nest about their ears. The President arrived yesterday, and his patriotic and cheering speech at Jackson, Miss., appeared in all the papers this morning.

We hear of no fighting at Suffolk. But we have dispatches from North Carolina, stating that a storm assailed the enemy's fleet off Hatteras, sinking the Monitor with all on board, and so crippling the Galena that her guns were thrown overboard! This is good news — if it be confirmed.

A letter from Major Boyle, in command at Gordonsville, gives information that the smugglers and extortioners are trading tobacco (contraband) with the enemy at Alexandria. He arrested B. Nussbaum, E. Wheeler, and S. Backrack, and sent them with their wagons and goods to Gen. Winder, Richmond. But instead of being dealt with according to law, he learns that Backrack is back again, and on his way to this city with another wagon load of goods from Yankee-land, and will be here to-day or tomorrow. I sent the letter to the Secretary, and hope it will not be intercepted on its way to him from the front office. The Secretary never sees half the letters addressed him, or knows of onehalf the attempts of persons to obtain interviews. The Assistant Secretary's duty is to dispose of the less important communications, but to exhibit his decisions.


January 6

To-day we are all down again. Bragg has retreated from Murfreesborough. It is said he saved his prisoners, captured cannon, etc., but it is not said what became of his own wounded. The Northern papers say they captured 500 prisoners in the battle, which they claim as a victory. I do not know how to reconcile Bragg's first dispatches, and particularly the one saying he had the whole field, and would follow the enemy, with this last one announcing his withdrawal and retirement from the field.

Eight thousand men were taken from Bragg a few days before the battle. It was not done at the suggestion of Gen. Johnston; for I have seen an extract of a letter from Gen. J. to a Senator (Wigfall), deprecating the detachment of troops from Bragg, and expressing grave apprehensions of the probable consequences.

A letter was received from R. R. Collier, Petersburg, to-day, [233] in favor of civil liberty, and against the despotism of martial law.

Senator Clark, of Missouri, informed me to-day that my nephew, R. H. Musser, has been made a colonel (under Hindman or Holmes), and has a fine regiment in the trans-Mississippi Department.

Lewis E. Harvie, president of the railroad, sends a communication to the Secretary (I hope it will reach him) inclosing a request from Gen. Winder to permit liquors to be transported on his road to Clover Hill. Mr. Harvie objects to it, and asks instructions from the Secretary. He says Clover Hill is the point from which the smuggling is done, and that to place it there, is equivalent to bringing it into the city.


January 7

To-day I was requested to aid, temporarily, in putting in operation a new bureau, created by the military authorities, not by law, entitled the Bureau of Conscription. From conscription all future recruits must be derived. I found Gen. Rains, the chief, a most affable officer; and Lieut.-Col. Lay, his next officer, was an acquaintance. I shall not now, perhaps, see so much of the interior of this moving picture of Revolution; my son, however, will note important letters. It is said that Sumner's corps (of Burnside's army) has landed in North Carolina, to take Wilmington. We shall have news soon.

We are sending troops rapidly from Virginia to North Carolina.

The Northern papers say the following dispatch was sent to Washington by our raiding Stuart: “Gen. Meigs will in future please furnish better mules; those you have furnished recently are very inferior.” He signed his own name.

A large body of slaves passed through the city to-day, singing happily. They had been working on the fortifications north of the city, and go to work on them south of it. They have no faith in the efficacy of Lincoln's Emancipation.

But it is different in Norfolk; 4000 enfranchised slaves marched in procession through the town the other day in a sort of frantic jubilee. They will bewail their error; and so will the Abolitionists. They will consume the enemy's commissary stores; and if they be armed, we shall get their arms.

Lee and Beauregard were telegraphed to-day in relation to the [234] movement on Wilmington; and the President had the cabinet with him many hours.

Gen. Rains is quite certain that the fall of New Orleans was the result of treachery.

By the emancipation, Gen. Wise's county, Princess Ann, is excepted-and so are Accomac and Northampton Counties; but I have no slaves. All I ask of the invaders is to spare my timber, and I will take care of the land — and I ask it, knowing the request will never be known by them until the war is over.


January 8

Gen. French writes that the enemy at Suffolk and Newbern amounted to 45,000; and this force now threatens Weldon and Wilmington, and we have not more than 14,000 to oppose them. With generalship that should suffice.

All the Virginia conscripts are ordered to Gen. Wise, under Major-Gen. Elzey. The conscripts from other States are to be taken to Gen. Lee. If the winter should allow a continuance of active operations, and the enemy should continue to press us, we might be driven nearly to the wall. We must help ourselves all we can, and, besides, invoke the aid of Almighty God!

We have nothing fresh from Bragg-nothing from Vicksburgand that is bad news.

I like Gen. Rains. He comes in and sits with me every day. Col. Lay is the active business man of the bureau. The general is engaged in some experiments to increase the efficiency of small arms.

He is very affable and communicative. He says he never witnessed more sanguinary fighting than at the battle of the Seven Pines, where his brigade retrieved the fortunes of the day; for at one time it was lost. He was also at Yorktown and Williamsburg; and he cannot yet cease condemning the giving up of the Peninsula, Norfolk, etc. Gen. Johnston did that, backed by Randolph and Mallory.

We have all been mistaken in the number of troops sent to the rescue of North Carolina; but four or five regiments, perhaps 3000 men, have gone thither from Virginia. A letter from Gen. Lee, dated the 5th inst., says he has not half as many men as Burnside, and cannot spare any. He thinks North Carolina, herself, will be able to expel the Federals, who probably meditate only a marauding expedition. And he supposes Bragg's splendid [235] victory (what did he suppose the next day?) may arrest the inroads of the enemy everywhere for a season. At this moment I do not believe we have 200,000 men in the field against 800,000! But what of that, after seeing Lee beat 150,000 with only 20,000 in action! True, it was an ambuscade.


January 9

The Northern papers say the Federals have taken Vicksburg; but we are incredulous. Yet we have no reliable intelligence from thence; and it may be so. It would be a terrible blow, involving, for a time, perhaps, the loss of the Mississippi River.

But we have cheering news from Galveston, Texas. Several of our improvised gun-boats attacked the enemy's war vessels in the harbor, and after a sanguinary contest, hand to hand, our men captured the Harriet Lane, a fine United States ship of war, iron clad. She was boarded and taken. Another of the enemy's ships, it is said, was blown up by its officers, rather than surrender, and many perished. If this be Magruder's work, it will make him famous.

Our public offices are crowded with applicants for clerkships, mostly wounded men, or otherwise unfit for field duty.

How can we live here? Boarding is $60 per month, and I have six to support! They ask $1800 rent for a dwelling-and I have no furniture to put in one. Gen. Rains and I looked at one today, thinking to take it jointly. But neither of us is able to furnish it. Perhaps we shall take it, nevertheless.


January 10

We have news from the West, which is believed to be reliable, stating that Bragg captured 6000 prisoners altogether in his late battles; took 30 cannon, 800 stand of arms, and destroyed 1500 wagons and many stores. The estimated loss of the enemy in killed and wounded is put down at 12,000. Our loss in killed and wounded not more than half that number.

To-day we have official intelligence confirming the brilliant achievement at Galveston; and it was Magruder's work. He has men under him fitted for desperate enterprises; and he has always had a penchant for desperate work. So we shall expect to hear of more gallant exploits in that section. He took 600 prisoners.

We have news also from Vicksburg, and the city was not taken; on the contrary, the enemy had sailed away. I trust this is reliable; [236] but the Northern papers persist in saying that Vicksburg has fallen, and that the event took place on the 3d inst.

Six hundred women and children-refugees — arrived at Petersburg yesterday from the North. They permit them to come now, when famine and pestilence are likely to be added to the other horrors of war! We are doomed to suffer this winter!


January 11

The message of Gov. Seymour, of New York, if I am not mistaken in its import and purposes, will have a distracting effect on the subjugation programme of the government at Washington. I shall look for riots, and perhaps rebellions and civil wars in the North.

Mr. Stanley, ycleped Governor of North Carolina, has written a letter (dated 31st December) to Gen. French, complaining that our soldiery have been guilty of taking slaves from their humane and loyal masters in Washington County, against their will; and demanding a restoration of them to their kind and beneficent owners, to whom they are anxious to return. Gen. French replies that he will do so very cheerfully, provided the United States authorities will return the slaves they have taken from masters loyal to the Confederate States. These may amount to 100,000. And he might have added that on the next day all-4,000,000-were to be emancipated, so far as the authority of the United States could accomplish it.

The enemy's gun-boats (two) came up the York River last week, and destroyed an oyster boat. Beyond the deprivation of oysters, pigs, and poultry, we care little for these incursions.


January 12

The news of the successful defense of Vicksburg is confirmed by an official dispatch, to the effect that the enemy had departed up the Mississippi River. By the late Northern papers, we find they confess to a loss of 4000 men in the several attacks upon the town! Our estimate of their loss did not exceed that many hundred. They lost two generals, Morgan and another. We did not lose a hundred men, according to our accounts. The Herald (N. Y.) calls it “another Fredericksburg affair.”

The estimate of the enemy's loss, at Murfreesborough, from 12,000 to 20,000, in killed, wounded, and prisoners, and ours at from four to nine thousand. Bragg says he will fight again near the same place, and his men are in high spirits. [237]

Our men fight to kill now, since the emancipation doom has been pronounced. But we have had a hard rain and nightly frosts, which will put an end to campaigning during the remainder of the winter. The fighting will be on the water, or near it.

The legislature is in session, and resolutions inimical to the passport system have already been introduced. But where are State Rights now?

Congress meets to-morrow.


January 13

The generals in North Carolina are importunate for reinforcements. They represent the enemy as in great force, and that Weldon, Goldsborough, Raleigh, and Wilmington are in extreme peril. Lee cannot send any, or, if he does, Richmond will be threatened again, and possibly taken.

How shall we live? Boarding ranges from $60 to $100 per month. Our landlord says he will try to get boarding in the country, and if he succeeds, probably we may keep the house we now occupy, furnished, at a rent of $1200, for a mere robin's nest of four rooms! But I hope to get the house at the corner of First and Casey, in conjunction with Gen. Rains, for $1800. It has a dozen rooms.


January 14

Gen. Beauregard, some of whose forces have been taken from him and sent to the defense of Wilmington, is apprehensive that they may be lost, in the event of the enemy making a combined naval and land attack, and then Charleston and Savannah would be in great peril. Gens. Smith and Whiting call lustily for aid, and say they have not adequate means of defense.

Some 4000 more negroes have been called for to work on the fortifications near Richmond. I believe 10,000 are at work now.

A letter “by order” of the Secretary of War to Col. Godwin, in King and Queen County, written by Judge Campbell, says that blockaders are allowed to run through, provided they be not suspicious parties. The government takes what it wants at seventyfive per cent. and releases the rest. The parties are liable to have their goods confiscated by the Secretary of the Treasury, who, however, the letter proceeds to say, has never molested any one in the illicit trade-smuggling.

In Congress, yesterday, Mr. Foote called for a committee to investigate [238] the commissary's contract with Haxhall, Crenshaw & Co., and was particularly severe on Major Ruffin, in the commissary's office, whom he understood was a partner in the flour concern.

Mr. Foote introduced a series of resolutions to-day, tempting the Northern States to make peace with us separately, excluding the New England States, and promising commercial advantages, etc. But we must treat as independent States, pledging a league with those that abandon the United States Government-offensive and defensive-and guaranteeing the navigation of the Mississippi River to the Northwestern States. They were referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations, of which he is the chairman. This is nothing.

But neither yesterday nor the day before was there a quorum of both houses; a sad spectacle in such a season of gloom. It was enlivened, however, by a communication from the Surgeon-General, proposing to send surgeons to vaccinate all the members. They declined the honor, though the small-pox is raging frightfully.

To-day a quorum was found in each house, and the President's message was sent in. I have not read it yet.


January 15

The President's message is highly applauded. It is well written; but I do not perceive much substance in it, besides some eloquent reproaches of England and France for the maintenance of their neutrality, which in effect is greatly more beneficial to the United States than to us. The President essays to encourage the people to continued effort and endurance-and such encouragement is highly judicious at this dark epoch of the struggle. He says truly we have larger armies, and a better supply of arms, etc., now, than we have had at any time previously.

The President says he will, unless Congress directs differently, have all Federal officers that we may capture, handed over to the States to be dealt with as John Brown was dealt with. The Emancipation Proclamation, if not revoked, may convert the war into a most barbarous conflict.

Mr. Foote, yesterday, introduced a resolution requesting the recall of our diplomatic agents; and, after a certain time, to notify the foreign consuls to leave the country, no longer recognizing them in an official capacity.

A bill was introduced making Marylanders subject to conscription.


[239]

January 16

Gen. Lee is in the city, doubtless to see about the pressure upon him for reinforcements in North Carolina. Gen. Smith still writes from Goldsborough for more men, with doleful forebodings if they be refused.

From Eastern Tennessee, we have bad accounts of outrages by the disloyal inhabitants, who have fled, to escape conscription, to the mountains and caves, many of them taking their families. At night they emerge from their hiding-places, and commit depredations on the secessionists.

It has been blowing a gale for two days, and there are rumors of more losses of the enemy's ships on the coast of North Carolina.

A letter was received by the government to-day from Arizona, justifying Col. Baylor for his policy of dealing with the Indians. I do not hear of any steps yet on the part of the President.

A report of the commandant at Camp Holmes, Raleigh, N. C., states that 12,000 conscripts have been received there altogether; 8000 have been sent off to regiments, 2000 detailed on government work, 500 deserted, etc.

The Enquirer to-day publishes the fact that a ship, with stores, merchandise, etc., has just arrived at Charleston; that six more are on the way thither, and that a steamer has successfully run the blockade from Wilmington with cotton. This notification may increase the vigilance of the blockading fleet. The Enquirer is also perpetually tilting with the Raleigh Standard. I doubt the policy of charging the leading journals in North Carolina with predilections for the Union. I believe the Enquirer has no settled editor now.

Mr. Foote favors the conscription of Marylanders. If such an act should be likely to pass, Gen. Winder will be beset with applications to leave the Confederacy.


January 17

Gen. Lee has left the city. His troops, en camped thirty miles north of Richmond, marched northward last night. So it is his determination to cross the Rappahannock? Or is it a demonstration of the enemy to prevent him from sending reinforcements to North Carolina? We shall know speedily.

North Carolina, one would think, is soon to be the scene of carnage; and it is asked what can 16,000 men do against 60,000?

The enemy began the attack on Fort Caswell yesterday; no [240] result. But one of his blockaders went ashore in the storm, and we captured the officers and crew.

All the conscripts in the West have been ordered to Gen. Bragg.

Shall we starve? Yesterday beef was sold for 40 cts. per pound; to-day it is 60 cts. Lard is $1.00. Butter $2.00. They say the sudden rise is caused by the prisoners of Gen. Bragg, several thousand of whom have arrived here, and they are subsisted from the market. Thus they injure us every way. But, n'importe, say some; if Lincoln's Emancipation be not revoked, but few more prisoners will be taken on either side. That would be a barbarous war, without quarter.

I see that Col. J. W. Wall, of New Jersey, has been nominated, and I suppose will be elected, U. S. Senator. He was confined for months in prison at Fort Lafayette. I imagine the colonel is a bold, able man.


January 18

It was bitter cold last night, and everything is frozen this morning; there will be abundance of ice next summer, if we keep our ice-houses.

In these times of privation and destitution, I see many men, who were never prominent secessionists, enjoying comfortable positions, and seeking investments for their surplus funds. Surely there must be some compensation in this world or the next for the true patriots who have sacrificed everything, and still labor in subordinate positions, with faith and patient suffering. These men and their families go in rags, and upon half-rations, while the others fare most sumptuously.

We are now, in effect, in a state of siege, and none but the opulent, often those who have defrauded the government, can obtain a sufficiency of food and raiment. Calico, which could once be bought for 12-cts. per yard, is now selling at $2.25, and a lady's dress of calico costs her about $30.00. Bonnets are not to be had. Common bleached cotton shirting brings $1.50 per yard. All other dry goods are held in the same proportion. Common tallow candles are $1.25 per pound; soap, $1.00; hams, $1.00; oppossum $3.00; turkeys $4 to $11.00; sugar, brown, $1.00; molasses $8.00 per gallon; potatoes $6.00 per bushel, etc.

These evils might be remedied by the government, for there is no great scarcity of any of the substantials and necessities of life in [241] the country, if they were only equally distributed. The difficulty is in procuring transportation, and the government monopolizes the railroads and canals.

Our military men apprehend no serious consequences from the army of negroes in process of organization by the Abolitionists at Washington. Gen. Rains says the negro cannot fight, and will always run away. He told me an anecdote yesterday which happened under his own observation. An officer, when going into battle, charged his servant to stay at his tent and take care of his property. In the fluctuations of the battle, some of the enemy's shot fell in the vicinity of the tent, and the negro, with great white eyes, fled away with all his might. After the fight, and when the officer returned to his tent, he was vexed to learn that his slave had run away, but the boy soon returned, confronting his indignant master, who threatened to chastise him for disobedience of orders. Caesar said: “Massa, you told me to take care of your property, and dis property” (placing his hand on his breast) “is worf fifteen hundred dollars.” He escaped punishment.

Some 200,000 of the Abolition army will be disbanded in May by the expiration of their terms of enlistment, and we have every reason to believe that their places cannot be filled by new recruits. If we hold out until then, we shall be able to resist at all vital points.


January 19

We have rumors of fighting this morning on the Rappahannock; perhaps the enemy is making another advance upon Richmond.

There was a grand funeral to-day,--Gen. D. R. Jones's; he died of heart disease.

Gen. Bragg dispatches that Brig.-Gen. Wheeler, with his cavalry, got in the rear of Rosecrans a few days ago, and burned a railroad bridge. He then penetrated to the Cumberland River, and destroyed three large transports and bonded a fourth, which took off his paroled prisoners. After this he captured and destroyed a gun-boat and its armament sent in quest of him.

We have taken Springfield, Missouri.

Rosecrans sends our officers, taken at Murfreesborough, to Alton, Ill., to retaliate on us for the doom pronounced in our President's proclamation, and one of his generals has given notice that if we [242] burn a railroad bridge (in our own country) all private property within a mile of it shall be destroyed. The black flag next.

We have no news from North Carolina.

Mr. Caperton was elected C. S. Senator by the Virginia Legisture on Saturday, in place of Mr. Preston, deceased.

An intercepted letter from a Mr. Sloane, Charlotte, N. C., to A. T. Stewart & Co., New York, was laid before the Secretary of War yesterday. He urged the New York merchant, who has contributed funds for our subjugation, to send merchandise to the South, now destitute, and he would act a°s salesman. The Secretary indorsed “conscript him,” and yet the Assistant Secretary has given instructions to Col. Godwin, in the border counties, to wink at the smugglers. This is consistency! And the Assistant Secretary writes “by order of the Secretary of War!”


January 20

The rumor of fighting on the Rappahannock is not confirmed. But Gen. Lee writes that his beeves are so poor the soldiers won't eat the meat. He asks the government to send him salt meat.

From Northern sources we learn that Arkansas Post has fallen, and that we have lost from 5000 to 7000 men there. If this be true, our men must have been placed in a man-trap, as at Roanoke Island.

Mr. Perkins, in Congress, has informed the country that Mr. Memminger, the Secretary of the Treasury, has hitherto opposed and defeated the proposition that the government buy all the cotton. Mr. M. should never have been appointed. He is headstrong, haughty, and tyrannical when he imagines he is dealing with inferiors, and he deems himself superior to the rest of mankind. But he is no Carolinian by birth or descent.

We see accounts of public meetings in New Jersey, wherein the government at Washington is fiercely denounced, and peace demanded, regardless of consequences. Some of the speakers openly predicted that the war would spread into the North, if not terminated at once, and in that event, the emancipationists would have foes to fight elsewhere than in the South. Among the participants I recognize the names of men whom I met in convention at Trenton in 1860. They clamor for the “Union as it was, the Constitution as it is,” adopting the motto of my paper, the “Southern Monitor,” the office of which was sacked in Philadelphia in April, [243]

1861. Our government will never agree to anything short of independence. President Davis will be found inflexible on that point.

There was a rumor yesterday that France had recognized us. The news of the disaster of Burnside at Fredericksburg having certainly been deemed very important in Europe. But France has not yet acted in our behalf. We all pray for the Emperor's intervention. We suffer much, and but little progress is made in conscription. Nearly all our resources are in the field. Another year of war, and!


January 21

Last night the rain fell in torrents, and to-day there is a violent storm of wind from the N. W. This may put an end, for a season, to campaigning on land, and the enemy's fleet at sea may he dispersed. Providence may thus intervene in our behalf.

It is feared that we have met with a serious blow in Arkansas, but it is not generally believed that so many (5000 to 7000 men) surrendered, as is stated in the Northern papers. Gen. Holmes is responsible for the mishap.

Conscription drags its slow length along. It is not yet adding many to the army. The Assistant Secretary of War, and several others, “by order of the Secretary of War,” are granting a fearful number of exemptions daily. Congress, I hope, will modify the exemption bill immediately. It is believed enrolling officers, surgeons, and others are permitting thousands to remain at home “for a price.” Even clerks in the War Department, it is said, are driving a lucrative business in “getting men off,” who should be on duty, in this war of independence. Young men in the departments, except in particular cases, will not stand in good repute “when the burly burly's done, when the battle's lost and won.”

Congress is at work projecting the organization of a Supreme Court.


January 22

We have reliable intelligence of the sinking of the U. S. gun-boat Hatteras, in the Gulf, by the Alabama. She was iron-clad, and all the officers and crew, with the exception of five, went down.

Gen. Whiting telegraphs to-day for the use of conscripts near Wilmington, in the event of an emergency. Several ships have just come in safely from abroad, and it is said a large number are on the way. [244]

Mr. Miles yesterday reported, from the Military Committee, a bill repealing the existing exemption law, and embracing all male residents between the ages of 18 and 45 years. The President, or Secretary of War, to have authority to grant exemptions in certain cases, if deemed expedient. This ought to give us 200,000 more men. And they will be required.

A resolution was passed demanding of the Commissary and Quartermaster-General the number of their employees capable of performing military duty. It would be well to extend the inquiry to the War Deparment itself.

A letter from Norfolk states that at a grand ball, in celebration of the emancipation of the negroes, Gen. Vieille opened the dance with a mulatto woman of bad character as his partner; and Mrs.V. had for her partner a negro barber.


January 23

The Northern papers are filled with what purports to be the intercepted correspondence of Mr. Benjamin with Messrs. Mason and Slidell. Lord John Russell is berated. The Emperor of France is charged with a design to seize Mexico as a colony, and to recognize Texas separately, making that State in effect a dependency, from which cotton may be procured as an offset to British India. He says the French Consuls in Texas are endeavoring to detach Texas from the Confederacy. If this be a genuine correspondence, it will injure the South; if it be false (if the allegations be false), it will still injure us. I have no doubt of its genuineness; and that Mr. Sanders, once the correspondent of the New York Tribune, was the bearer. If Texas leaves us, so may Louisiana-and the gigantic Houmas speculation may turn out well at last.

Mr. Curry has brought forward a copyright bill; Mr. Foster, of Alabama, has introduced a bill to abolish the passport systemleaving the matter to railroad conductors.

A dispatch from Gen. Bragg assures us that our cavalry are still capturing and destroying large amounts of Rosecrans's stores on the Cumberland River.

Col. Wall has been elected Senator from New Jersey. They say he is still pale and ill from his imprisonment, for opinion sake. I hope he will speak as boldly in the Senate as out of it.

I met Gen. Davis to-day (the President's nephew), just from Goldsborough, where his brigade is stationed. He is in fineplumage --and I hope he will prove a game-cock. [245]

Major-Gen. French, in command at Petersburg, is a Northern man. Our native generals are brigadiers. It is amazing that all the superior officers in command near the capital should be Northern men. Can this be the influence of Gen. Cooper? It may prove disastrous!


January 24

Gen. Smith writes that he deems Wilmington in a condition to resist any attacks.

The exposition of Mr. Benjamin's dispatches has created profound mortification in the community.

Another transport has been taken from the enemy in the Cumberland River. No further news from Arkansas.

There is a white flag (small-pox) within seventy yards of our house. But it is probable we must give up the house soon, as the owner is desirous to return to it-being unable to get board in the country.

Gen. Rains, who has been making a certain sort of primer, met with an accident this morning; one of them exploded in his hand, injuring his thumb and finger. He was scarcely able to sign his name to official documents to-day.

Mr. Hunter has brought forward a measure for the funding of Treasury notes, the redundant circulation having contributed to produce the present fabulous prices in the market.

In the New Jersey Legislature petitions are flowing in denunciatory of Lincoln's Emancipation scheme, which would cast into the free States a large excess of profitless population.


January 25

Gen. Lee mentions, in his recent correspondence, an instance of the barbarity of some of the Yankee soldiers in the Abolition Army of the Potomac. They thrust into the Rappahannock River a poor old negro man, whom they had taken from his master, because he had the small-pox; and he would have been drowned had he not been rescued by our pickets. It is surmised that this dreadful disease prevails to an alarming extent in the Yankee army, and probably embarrasses their operations. Our men have all been vaccinated; and their recklessness of disease and death is perhaps a guarantee of exemption from affliction. Their health, generally, is better than it has ever been before.

The government at Washington has interdicted the usual ex. change of newspapers, for the present. This gives rise to conjecture [246] that Lincoln experiences grave difficulties from the adverse sentiment of his people and his armies regarding his Emancipation Proclamation. And it is likely he has met with grave losses at sea, for the invading army in North Carolina has retired back on Newbern. But the season for naval enterprises is not over, and we are prepared to expect some heavy blows before April.

The revelations in the intercepted dispatches captured with Mr. Sanders, whose father is a notorious political adventurer, may be most unfortunate. They not only show that we even were negotiating for six war steamers, but give the names of the firms in Europe that were to furnish them. The project must now be abandoned. And Louis Napoleon will be enraged at the suspicions and imputations of our Secretary of State regarding his occult policy.

Gen. Rains has invented a new primer for shell, which will explode from the slightest pressure. The shell is buried just beneath the surface of the earth, and explodes when a horse or a man treads upon it. He says he would not use such a weapon in ordinary warfare; but has no scruples in resorting to any means of defense against an army of Abolitionists, invading our country for the purpose, avowed, of extermination. He tried a few shell on the Peninsula last spring, and the explosion of only four sufficed to arrest the army of invaders, and compelled them to change their line of march.


January 26

The Northern papers say Hooker's grand division crossed the Rappahannock, ten miles above Falmouth, several days ago.

Burnside has issued an address to his army, promising them another battle immediately.

Gen. Lee advises the government to buy all the grain in the counties through which the canal runs. He says many farmers are hoarding their provisions, for extortionate prices.

I have no house yet. Dr. Wortham had one; and although I applied first, he let Mr. Reagan, the Postmaster-General, have it. He is a member of President Davis's cabinet-and receives $6000 salary.

There is much indignation expressed by the street talkers against Mr. Benjamin and Mr. Sanders, in the matter of the intercepted [247] dispatches: against Mr. Benjamin for casting such imputations on Napoleon and his consular agents, and for sending his dispatches by such a messenger, in the absence of the President; against Sanders for not destroying the dispatches. Many think the information was sold to the United States Government.

Col. Wall has made a speech in Philadelphia. He said he should take his seat in the United States Senate as an advocate of peace; and he boldly denounced the Lincoln administration.

Our official report shows that our military authorities, up to this time, have burnt 100,000 bales of cotton in Arkansas. I have not learned the amount destroyed in other States-but it is large. Gen. Lee thinks the object of the expeditions of the enemy on the Southern coast is to procure cotton, etc. The slaves can do them no good, and the torch will disappoint the marauders.

Strong and belligerent resolutions have been introduced in the United States Congress against France, for her alleged purpose to obtain dominion in Mexico. It is violative of the Monroe doctrine. And Mr. Benjamin's accusation against the consuls (embracing a French design on Texas) might seem like a covert purpose to unite both the Confederate and the United States against France-and that might resemble premeditated reconstruction. But diplomatists must be busy-always at their webs. President Davis would be the last man to abandon the ship Independence.


January 27

It is too true that several thousand of our men were captured at Arkansas Post, and that Little Rock is now in danger.

There seems to be no probability, after all, of an immediate advance of the enemy across the Rappahannock.

But there are eight iron-clad gun-boats and ninety sail at Beaufort, North Carolina, and, it is reported, 52,000 men. Wilmington will probably be assailed.

Mr. Foote said, yesterday, if Indiana and Illinois would recede from the war, he should be in favor of aiding them with an army against Lincoln. And all the indications from the North seem to exhibit a strong sentiment among the people favoring peace. But the people are not the government, and they sink peace and reconstruction together.

Yesterday Mr. Crockett, of Kentucky, said, in the House of [248] Representatives, that there was a party in favor of forming a Central Confederacy (of free and slave States) between the Northern and Southern extremes. Impracticable.

To-day we have news of the bombardment of Fort McAlister, near Savannah. No result known. Now we shall have tidings every few days of naval operations. Can Savannah, and Charleston, and Wilmington be successfully defended? They may, if they will emulate the example of Vicksburg. If they fall, it will stagger this government-before the peace party in the North can operate on the Government of the United States. But it would not “crush the rebellion.”


January 28

The bombardment of Fort McAlister continued five hours yesterday, when the enemy's boats drew off. The injury to the fort can be repaired in a day. Not a man was killed or a gun dismounted. The injury done the fleet is not known. But the opinion prevails here that if the bombardment was continued to-day, the elongated shot of the enemy probably demolished the fort.

Last night and all this day it snowed incessantly-melting rapidly, however. This must retard operations by land in Virginia and probably in North Carolina.


January 29

It appears from the Northern press that the enemy did make three attempts last week to cross the Rappahannock; but as they advanced toward the stream, the elements successfully opposed them. It rained, it snowed, and it froze. The gun carriages and wagons sank up to the hubs, the horses to their bodies, and the men to their knees; and so all stuck fast in the mud.

I saw an officer to-day from the army in North Carolina. He says the prospect for a battle is good, as soon as the roads admit of marching.

We have nothing further from the bombardment near Savannah. The wires may not be working-or the fort may be taken.

Gov. Vance has sent to the department a strong protest against. the appointment of Col. August as commandant of conscripts in Northern Tennessee. Col. A. is a Virginian — that is the only reason. Well, Gen. Rains, who commands all the conscripts in the Confederate States, is a North Carolinian. But the War Department has erred in putting so many strangers in command [249] of localities, where natives might have been selected. Richmond, for instance, has never yet been in the command of a Southern general.

There are indications of a speedy peace, although we are environed by sea and by land as menacingly as ever. The Tribune (New York) has an article which betrays much desperation. It says the only way for the United States Government to raise $300,000,000, indispensably necessary for a further prosecution of the war, is to guarantee (to the capitalists) that it will be the last call for a loan, and that subjugation will be accomplished in ninety days, or never. It says the war must then be urged on furiously, and negro soldiers sent among the slaves to produce an insurrection! If this will not suffice, then let peace be made on the best possible terms. The New York World denounces the article, and is for peace at once. It says if the project (diabolical) of the Tribune fails, it may not be possible to make peace on any terms. In this I see indications of a foregone conclusion. All over the North, and especially in the Northwest, the people are clamoring for peace, and denouncing the Lincoln Emancipation Proclamation. I have no doubt, if the war continues throughout the year, we shall have the spectacle of more Northern men fighting against the United States Government than slaves fighting against the South.

Almost every day, now, ships from Europe arrive safely with merchandise: and this is a sore vexation to the Northern merchants. We are likewise getting, daily, many supplies from the North, from blockade-runners. No doubt this is winked at by the United States military authorities, and perhaps by some of the civil ones, too.

If we are not utterly crushed before May (an impracticable thing), we shall win our independence.


January 30

There is a rumor that Kentucky has voted to raise an army of 60,000 men to resist the execution of Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation.

Fort Caswell, below Wilmington, has been casemated with iron; but can it withstand elongated balls weighing 480 pounds? I fear not. There are, however, submarine batteries; yet these may be avoided, for Gen. Whiting writes that the best pilot (one sent thither some time ago by the enemy) escaped to the hostile fleet since Gen. Smith visited North Carolina, which is embraced within [250] his command. This pilot, no doubt, knows the location of all our torpedoes.

Nothing further from Savannah.

Mr. Adams, the United States Minister at London, writes to Mr. Seward, Secretary of State, dated 17th of October, 1862, that if the Federal army shall not achieve decisive successes by the month of February ensuing, it is probable the British Parliament will recognize the Confederate States. To-morrow is the last day of January.

I cut the following from yesterday's Dispatch:

The results of extortion and speculation.

The state of affairs brought about by the speculating and extortion practiced upon the public cannot be better illustrated than by the following grocery bill for one week for a small family, in which the prices before the war and those of the present are compared:

1860.1863.

Bacon, 10 lbs. at 12c$1.25
Flour, 30 lbs. at 5c1.00
Sugar, 5 lbs. at 8c40
Coffee, 4 lbs. at 12 1/2c50
Tea (green), 1/2 lb. at $150
Lard, 4 lbs. at 12c50
Butter, 3 lbs. at 25c75
Meal, 1 pk. at 25c25
Candles, 2 lbs. at 15c30
Soap, 5 lbs. at 10c50
Pepper and salt (about)10
Total$6.55

Bacon, 10 lbs. at $1$10.00
Flour, 30 lbs. at 12c3.75
Sugar, 5 lbs. at $1.155.75
Coffee, 4 lbs. at $520.00
Tea (green), 1/2 lb. at $168.00
Lard, 4 lbs. at $14.00
Butter, 3 lbs. at $1.755.25
Meal, 1 pk. at $11.00
Candles, 2 lbs. at $1.252.50
Soap, 5 lbs. at $1.105.00
Pepper and salt (about)2.50
Total$68.25

So much we owe the speculators, who have stayed at home to prey upon the necessities of their fellow-citizens.


We have just learned that a British steamer, with cannon and other valuable cargo, was captured by the enemy, two days ago, while trying to get in the harbor. Another, similarly laden, got safely in yesterday. We can afford to lose one ship out of three--that is, the owners can, and then make money.

Cotton sells at seventy-five cents per pound in the United States. So the blockade must be felt by the enemy as well as ourselves. War is a two-edged sword.


January 31

We have dispatches from Charleston, to-day, which reconcile us to the loss of the cargo captured by the blockading squadron early in the week. An artillery company captured [251] a fine gun-boat in Stone River (near Charleston) yesterday evening. She had eleven guns and 200 men.

But this morning we did better still. Our little fleet of two iron-clads steamed out of Charleston harbor, and boldly attacked the blockading fleet. We crippled two of their ships, and sunk one, completely raising the blockade, for the time being. This will frustrate some of their plans, and may relieve Wilmington.

The attack on Fort McAlister was a failure. The monitor which assaulted the fort sustained so much injury, that it had to retire for repairs.

Several blockade-runners between this and Williamsburg were arrested and sent to Gen. Winder to-day by Lieut. G. D. Wise. Gen. W. sent them to Gen. Rains. Mr. Petit and Mr. James Custis (from Williamsburg) came with them to endeavor to procure their liberation. Gen. Rains sent them back to Gen. W., with a note that he had no time to attend to such matters. Such business does not pertain to his bureau. I suppose they will be released.

Major Lear, of Texas, who was at the capture of the Harriet Lane, met on the captured steamer his mortally-wounded son, the lieutenant.

A few days ago, Lieut. Buchanan was killed on a United States gun-boat by our sharpshooters. He was the son of Admiral Buchanan, in the Confederate service, now at Mobile. Thus we are reminded of the wars of the roses-father against son, and brother against brother. God speed the growth of the Peace Party, North and South; but we must have independence.

Mr. Hunter was in our office to-day, getting the release of a son of the Hon. Jackson Morton, who escaped from Washington, where ha had resided, and was arrested here as a conscript. The Assistant Secretary of War ruled him entitled to exemption, although yesterday others, in the same predicament, were ruled into the service.

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